The link between video game violence and real-life aggression has, and will continue to be, one of the most hotly debated subjects in the video game industry. It seems every few months a new study is released that explains how video game violence is or isn’t related to aggression, especially in youth. Just a couple days ago, a report was released by an American Psychological Association (APA) task force, confirming the link many believe exists between video games and violence.
In response to that report, over 200 psychology scholars have now voiced their concerns about the report, reiterating the belief that any claims about the correlation between video game violence and aggression are false.
One of these scholars, Stetson University psychology professor Chris Ferguson, wrote an open letter to the APA with a passionate response to the study. In that letter, Ferguson described the bias of the task force concerning video games:
“As a researcher in this field, I thought you might be curious to know that there are actually a lot of problems with this report, how the task force was comprised, and the basis for its conclusions on research. Indeed, the evidence linking violent games to aggression is honestly a lot less clear than the APA report would have one believe. There are an increasing number of studies coming out now that suggest there is no link whatsoever. Further, the task force appeared to have been selected from among scholars with clear anti-media views”
Ferguson also points out how all seven of the task force members were over 50, which he believes has a significant impact on their feelings toward video games.
“I point that out because there is solid evidence that age is a correlate for attitudes about video games, even amongst scholars. Age and negative attitudes toward youth predict anti-game attitudes.”
The scholar continues by offering his own evidence for why video game violence and youth violence aren’t connected, citing numerous studies and describing how youth violence is on the decline. All this together, says Ferguson, contradicts the assertion that video games drive youth to violence.
Naturally, each side will have their followers, who will use the studies and information provided to promote their own feelings on the subject. One this is for sure: this discussion is far from over; and studies, opinions, and bias will continue to flow forth from each side, promoting their respective beliefs about video games and violence.
What do you think about Ferguson’s response to the APA? Do you believe video game violence is tied to youth aggression? Share your side in the comments below.